Quote for Today: Augusten Burroughs


I want to write something that means something to someone…that reminds them of what a second, a moment, really is…or that assures them that we are just as lost as they are. I want to write an emotion they are too fragile to let loose, so that my words can do the expression for them, the feeling for them. I want to write beyond the basics and the cliches…I want to write you, I want to write a long walk on a starry night, I want to write an exhale or an inhale…or suffocation.
I want to write as clear as my voice could be heard…that is, if I had anything to say.
Augusten Burroughs

Public Domain Image via PxHere

Quote for Today: Leonard Mlodinow


Perception requires imagination because the data people encounter in their lives are never complete and always equivocal. For example, most people consider that the greatest evidence of an event one can obtain is to see it with their own eyes, and in a court of law little is held in more esteem than eyewitness testimony. Yet if you asked to display for a court a video of the same quality as the unprocessed data captured on the retina of a human eye, the judge might wonder what you were trying to put over. For one thing, the view will have a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina. Moreover, the only part of our field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area of about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina’s center, an area the width of our thumb as it looks when held at arm’s length. Outside that region, resolution drops off sharply. To compensate, we constantly move our eyes to bring the sharper region to bear on different portions of the scene we wish to observe. And so the pattern of raw data sent to the brain is a shaky, badly pixelated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately the brain processes the data, combining input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. The result – at least until age, injury, disease, or an excess of mai tais takes its toll – is a happy human being suffering from the compelling illusion that his or her vision is sharp and clear.

We also use our imagination and take shortcuts to fill gaps in patterns of nonvisual data. As with visual input, we draw conclusions and make judgments based on uncertain and incomplete information, and we conclude, when we are done analyzing the patterns, that out “picture” is clear and accurate. But is it?
Leonard Mlodinow, The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

Public Domain Image via Pixabay.com


Quote for Today: John Steinbeck


“This here ol’ man jus’ lived a life an’ just died out of it. I don’ know whether he was good or bad, but that don’t matter much. He was alive, an’ that’s what matters. An’ now he’s dead, an’ that don’t matter. Heard a fella tell a poem one time, an’ he says All that lives is holy. Got to thinkin’, an’ purty soon it means more than the words says. An’ I wouldn’t pray for a ol’ fella that’s dead. He’s awright. He got a job to do, but it’s all laid out for im an’ there’s on’y one way to do it. But us, we got a job to do, an’ they’s a thousan’ ways, an’ we don’ know which one to take. An’ if I was to pray, it’d be for the folks that don’ know which way to turn. Grampa here, he got the easy straight. An’ now cover im up an let im get to his work.”

―Casy in The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck
 Tollund Man, Public Domain Image

Quote for Today: Vera Nazarian

Have you ever seen the dawn? Not a dawn groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations and you about to rush off on an early adventure or business, but full of deep silence and absolute clarity of perception? A dawning which you truly observe, degree by degree. It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day.
Vera NazarianThe Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Quote for Today: Alexander McCall Smith

Jarlshof archaeological site, Sumburgh, Shetland © gordontour with CCLIcense

Jarlshof archaeological site, Sumburgh, Shetland
© gordontour with CCLicense

Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth, things of that sort, our personal memories, that make the private tapestry of our lives.

Alexander McCall SmithLove Over Scotland

Look at the Beautiful Noise: Noise Photography and Jeff Ascough

We often feel we must choose between representation of the external and expression of the internal. Can’t we enjoy both?

© Don_Gato(LoFi Photography) with CCLicense

© Don_Gato(LoFi Photography) with CCLicense

With the advent of the digital camera ideas about image quality changed radically. Photographers became obsessed with clarity, and the presence of image grain, known to photographers as noise, became a contentious issue. A wide gulf opened up between museums and art photographers, who often turned away the work of digital artists for being too clean, and digital photographers and institutions that considered grainy images anathema, seeing them as mistakes or bad shots passed off as art. A good deal of great work on both sides was getting stigmatized, and that stigma remains in many circles.

© glindsay65 with CCLicense

© glindsay65 with CCLicense

Part of this may stem from the way noise itself changed. On film, especially in black and white or sepia tone, noise presents itself as fuzziness or grain. With digital, noise often presents itself as oddly colored pixels which look very alien and stand out mercilessly in the image. Digital artists came to prize clarity, the strength of their medium, while those who stuck to film prized personality, the strength of theirs. It would have been valid to ask what beauty was found in the weaknesses inherent in each medium. Instead, many photographers and critics threw words like “artsy”, “clean” and “noisy” around as if they were pejoratives and it looked as if society was turning its back on noisy photography. Then services like Instagram came out, redefining noise as romantic, vintage and trendy and letting us add it to our digital images.

Jeff Ascough is among the most famous wedding photographers in the world. He considers himself a “wedding documentarian”, meaning he likes to take unposed shots as they happen, without special lighting in order to capture the essence of the moment. The use of noise is prevalent in his work, both as an aid to reveal how the moment felt and as a natural product of foregoing intrusive lighting and positioning. At any rate, many of the images he produces have a weight and power that a perfectly clean photo would miss.

This interview with Jeff Ascough from fellow wedding documentarian Crash Taylor’s Blog is full of scrumptious images (not all are from weddings) and reveals a very interesting and intelligent artist. I love the smoking man from the wedding set, so delightfully whimsical. Please enjoy!